Archive for May, 2013

My biggest gripe about the Forza games…

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

I know that DLC’s are the big thing now, and a big money-maker post release for just about every game developer.  That being said, while Forza 4 and Forza Horizon are both fantastic games, the real world cost of adding additional cars via DLC is absurd.  Here I am thinking I got a great deal, $40 per game, and then as I’m choosing a new car I see certain vehicles tagged with “DLC” which can be purchased for anywhere from $2 or more.  They don’t even have a DLC package where you can just buy all of them at once, even the so called “Season Pass” is limited in what it can provide… to this I say, wtf?

The entire purpose of games these days should be to keep the players playing them.  Forcing us to commit even more real world dollars into a title just for the privilege of driving a twin turbo AMC Gremlin is ridiculous.  I’m all for dropping a few dollars for a steaming pile of pungent new content, but all of this piecemeal BS is infuriating…  Wow, great, the game has hundreds of cars… of which maybe 10% I have any real interest in driving.  I’d like to run a few races in a Dodge Omni GLH for instance, but I can’t unless I drop real money to do so.  That’s a load of crap.

I supported the developer by purchasing the game, I further support them by continuing to play it. There’s got to be a business model out there that can get me the content I want for FREE and still make money for the developers.  Years ago they started doing really obvious product placement via billboards and whatnot – some folks complained, personally I think it made the experience more real.  Maybe they could make the DLC cars available via in-game points.  Instead, I need to spend more real money.  BULL$#@!.

It’s the little things in life that put a smile on my face…

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Over the weekend I got to see one of my oldest friends tie the knot, was a great (albeit rainy) time.  Still, my mind works in mysterious ways and the thing that stood out was related to one of my ex’s being there.  Now I rarely talk to them, but we’re on good terms.  They’re married, have a few kids, and I made a point to at least do a happy ‘hi, how are ya’ and leave it at that.

Still, one thing I noticed ages ago, is that the ‘other half of the equation’ couldn’t really take their eyes off me.  I initially noticed it at ‘group events’ mainly any time I actually spoke with my ex but then noticed that just about every time I’d scan the room, or be in the middle of a conversation with other folks… this guy’s just watching me.

Now the wedding marked the first time in… more than a few years since I actually ran into the happy couple in person, said my hello’s, etc… and moved on to the other two dozen people I hadn’t seen in ages.  Made a point for the rest of the night to steer clear for the most part, but seriously… everyone’s on the floor dancing, and where’s he looking (while dancing)?  Me.

My ex?  Still a knockout.  Given the option of looking at me, or looking at her, I’d have to say I can’t blame him – I’m one handsome SOB, but just the same dude… Past is the past, you’ve got a family, I’ve got… something, lol… As Lilly from How I Met Your Mother would say… where’s the poop?

Jealous?  Intimidated?  Over protective?  Am I yet again this mysterious bogeyman?  Honestly, I got a kick out of it. 🙂

Already bored with Defiance… here’s how to get me un-bored.

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

A bit of background here – I must have played World of Warcraft for a good 3+ years before I finally hung up my gear and decided to venture out into the daylight again.  I’m sure that if I was so inclined, I could install it, load up my old character, and pick up where I left off without a hitch.  I’d probably even get sucked right back into the addiction.

There’s problem #1 with Defiance.  It’s not addicting.  There’s really nothing to make me want to log in and play, as at its core it is a very basic shooter in the post-apocalyptic style of the Fallout or Borderlands series but without any of the real meat that can get me to reinstall any Fallout or Borderlands title and play it through to the end again.  I’ve compiled a short list of what I think can and should be done to improve Defiance for me.

1. Upgrades, upgrades, upgrades!  In WOW, Fallout or Borderlands, half the fun of playing is upgrading your weapons and armor every 5 minutes.  Sure, it might sound frustrating – but not nearly as frustrating as completing a handful of missions in Defiance only to collect a bunch of crap that’s no better than what I have been using for the past 300 levels.  Sure, there’s the mod system which allows the player to customize the weapons on hand when there are available slots for upgrade – but even then, the mods are rarely earth shattering.  Woohoo, new scope, .10% increase in accuracy.  There’s no armor in defiance, you can customize your look but beyond that all you have are a fairly limited selection of shields that vary in capacity, recharge rate, recharge delay, etc…  Want to customize your look?  Break out the greenbacks.

2. Skill tree?  Who needs a skill tree?  Sure, reaching higher EGO levels allow you to unlock various perks but they only take effect if you equip the perk.  Better yet, you can only equip a limited number of perks.  What a load of crap.  Sure, it puts a higher emphasis on making the most of your loadouts, but who wants to back out to a menu and swap loadouts in the middle of a firefight?

3. Speaking of loadouts – get rid of them.  The menu system in the game is at best cumbersome, at worst completely daft.  Sure, I bet a bunch of development meetings were held but from the way it works I’d guess the leaning tower of hot pockets got more attention.  You’re locked in to using two weapons  in any loadout.  In any game of this nature, I like to have a good shotgun, a machine gun, and a sniper rifle on hand at the same time which allows me to quickly adapt to any situation.  There’s no quick adapting in this game.  You go in with the wrong loadout, or the right loadout and run out of ammo, forget about it.  If you’re lucky you can find a semi-safe place to hide and swap loadouts, but in the mean time you’re still getting hammered from all sides.  How about 3-4 weapons on hand – no need to swap loadouts and you can keep firing instead of hoping a PDA can protect you from a bullet.

4. Loot.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled by other post-apocolyptic shooters, but one of the things that encourages anyone to explore these unique and highly detailed open worlds is scavenging.  You don’t scavenge in defiance.  You kill, get stuff, and if you’re really lucky through some miracle get a weapon that’s worth using.  The numerous ammo crates scattered across the landscape are nice, but why bother checking out a random site if all I’m gonna get are the same plug and play NPC’s with the same crap drops?  Woah, 10 scrip.  Woah, a white weapon.  Big deal.  Give a player more reasons to explore beyond the ridiculously repetitive side missions.

5. Vehicles.  The vehicles in this game are a nice touch, but regardless of how they look, they’re all crap.  How about the ability to modify them?  Rims? Armor? Paint?  Mounted weapons?  Sure its fun to drive in to a crowd of baddies and try to take a few out before jumping out and hoping that you’ve got the right loadout to keep you from getting fragged 2 seconds later… but how about a fender mounted weapon to have some more fun thinning the herd?  Why can’t we sell them?  Now that I’ve got my orange Challenger, whats the point of having a half dozen quads in my inventory?  Let me sell the things.

6. Vendors.  Woohoo, I’ve got 20k script on hand and no place to spend it because all of the vendors sell crap.  Sure, there are the faction vendors I can access by completing races or completing other competitive tasks – but even then – crap.

7. Lockboxes are a joke as well.  The whole lockbox thing is that if you have enough resources or buy enough bits with real money – you can access the lockbox and get some random weapons, shields, etc…  Thing is, these lockboxes all issue crap.  You’re lucky if you get a purple, best you’ll get it blue.  I’ve heard rumors that you might even see a top-tier orange but as an experiment one night I dropped $20 on bits and bought several tier 4 lockboxes.  That entitled me to several random pieces of crap.

Now I’m sure that there are folks who absolutely love this game, and at the start, I was one of them.  Every time I login though, I spend less time in game before I logout and play something else that cost me less and provides more satisfaction and replay value.  The show the game is based on is actually pretty good IMHO but not enough to keep me playing.  I’m glad that they aren’t charging to play the game beyond the initial purchase price because unless some significant changes are made there’s no way in hell this game becomes another virtual ghost-town in the shadow of numerous other titles that aren’t even MMO but are easily worth the price of admission several times over.

There’s a world out there, and I really don’t give a crap.

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Can’t say I’ve ever really been a positive or happy person, in general I think my emotional progress peaked at “content.”  I don’t go against the flow, or with the flow, I just bob on the surface…  I don’t lean left or right, I just play the averages, avoid extremes, avoid latching on to anything for too long.

I’ m bored.  I can’t really put into words just how bored I am, but it’s both excruciating and comforting at the same time.  There’s a lot of freedom to be had in not giving a crap about anyone or anything, but one huge side effect is of course boredom.

All the stuff I used to enjoy now bores the crap out of me.  I’ve never been able to focus on just one thing at a time, so now I find myself focusing on many things at once all of which bore the crap out of me.

Video games were always my hobby, any time life gave me lemons I fired up the ‘ol Xbox and buried myself in a world where I didn’t share a house with someone I’m trying to divorce but won’t fucking leave me alone, where I had little tasks and jobs that actually excited me and got my brain working…  I could never just play a game though, I always needed something else going on, either music or something on TV.

Right now, I’m actively playing Sim City, Defiance, Just Cause 2, Fallout New Vegas, and Mass Effect 3.  None of them can keep me interested for long.  Eventually I get bored, and my attention focuses on something shiny… It used to be an escape, now it’s just another pile of things to do… like pay bills, mow the lawn, do the laundry, clean my room… it’s relentless.

Most days and nights when I’m not taking care of necessary things I’m in my room, like a goddamned teenager.  Laying down, watching TV (while playing a game on my laptop, my ipad, or my android tablet), endlessly switching through games hoping something will light a fire in me and at least make the days not seem so long.

I’ll go out still… most days I’ll go to my favorite bar or the local coffee shop… Whichever one I’m at, whether I’m eating, drinking, or both – I’ve got some electronic device on me where I can read the news or play some pointless little game to pass the time.  I even talk to people – something I never really had a problem doing – but now when I talk to them I genuinely don’t care where the conversation goes, what it’s about… I just play the part and move on.

Hell, I used to love getting on my motorcycle and just ride it from dawn till dusk, and as was the case last summer – right through till dawn again (1200 miles on a bike with a 2.9 gallon fuel tank, who’s hardcore now?).  Music, politics, games, religion, the great outdoors… I don’t give a crap.  Last night I was watching “The Family Man” – a Nic Cage movie from 2000… I got about halfway through it, up to the part where he started to see how happy his ‘other self’ actually was with the life he didn’t want…  I’m sick of seeing that hollywood happiness, it’s a load of crap.  I could just sit in my room and watch the pull string on the ceiling fan swirl around all day and get as much satisfaction (read: none) from my day as if I actually did something that involved using my brain.

So yeah… there’s a world outside my window, and I honestly could care less.  The only thing I’m hoping for at this point, if anything – is for my ‘instant family’ to finally leave and take their goddamned psychosis with them.  I have enough trouble sorting out the crap in my head without having to guess when the next bipolar outburst is going to have me wishing I had a damned escape ladder in my room so I can find a nice quiet place to escape to.  Maybe a new job where I can make enough to move out, hire a lawyer instead of a mediator and put this shit to rest forever.  I can’t tell you how much I’m waiting to start making alimony payments.  I’d sell a nut today if I could start paying alimony tomorrow.

Hell, I think I’d feel better if I knew more divorced people.  Last one I knew was a coworker, and that crazy SOB moved to RUSSIA to get away from the bullshit.  My grandfather divorced my grandmother, my uncle divorced his wife, but they’re all dead.  My wife… I’m really sick of calling her that… she’s divorced, but hardly an expert as her problems became mine and generally speaking I’m going to blame her for my current state of being until I’m free of her and can’t use her crap as a bullshit justification for my crap.

Recently I ran into my ex (who is divorced) twice at the local coffee shop.  Thankfully I wasn’t spat on or hissed at either time, honestly I didn’t even recognize her either time until I was ready to leave.  I’d ask her how her divorce went, but the last time I said hello she emailed my parents and brother to accuse me of doing some pretty vile shit… None of which was true, as anyone who actually has to support a family and raise kids doesn’t generally have the time to do what she thought I was doing.  I always figured that, and her spitting / hissing at me was an attempt to evoke a reaction, start a conversation… but that leads me back to the whole ‘perks of not giving a crap’ thing.  I don’t care.  Spit on me, hiss at me, try to make people think I’m the bogeyman outside your window while I’m busy being a “dad” – shrug.  Have ya considered saying “Hi?” lol.

I want to be left alone and rescued at the same time.  Nothing interests me anymore, but at the same time if I actually get invited to do something… the effort required to actually do it is excruciatingly exhausting.  There’s no bright sides anymore, just a few things I’m waiting to happen so maybe my life will be a little less crappy and a whole lot less complex.

I need something new, I know I’m looking… I must still care at some level if part of me hopes that one day I’ll actually be able to see the sun again through this foggy haze of bullshit, boredom, and apathy that’s become my security blanket.  No clue what it is, where it is, but there’s got to be more to life than walking into the same old walls every day just to see how much less I can care once the swelling from the impact finally subsides.

I’ve still got some hope left… no fucking clue why… but until I discover the justification for that hope I guess I’m just perfectly content not giving a shit about anyone or anything.